Reflections in 2023

Mada Hayyas
3 min readNov 27, 2023


The Panic Years, can be said.

That’s how my 20’s have felt anyway, a panic to be perfect, to have everything figured out before 30, a panic to stay ahead of the cost of living crisis, buy a house, all whilst staying present because ”You are only in your 20’s once”, remember? a panic when people’s success on LinkedIn makes your stomach drop or panic when you’ve got no plans on a Friday night but the rest of Instagram stories does, a panic to constantly self improve, to read more books until reading more books becomes more of the chore than a hobby, that you do, just to tick off a to do list. A panic to make people proud, to spend time with aging grandparents, plans with friends and skincare.

Quite frankly, I am tired of panicking about the panic years. But I know, I’m going to continue to panic about them anyway.

Sometimes getting older is an act of spite. A rebellion against a world that does not want you to survive. It’s how we say ”fuck you” to a society that tries to kills us but sometimes growing old is gentler. It is joyous. It’s something we do because we love the world and we want to see more of it. And the world, in return, loves us and wants to see more of us. Every year I learn to be gentle with myself, the sentence ”It’s okay, we learn to be better” is a sentence that is rooted in my heart. Trying not to compare my life with others, trying to romanticize my life as well. But in another hand, I also always ask myself, ”Am I happy?” or ”Am I on the right path?.”

Moving to a foreign country alone, and facing everything alone is the hardest thing. My closest friends and family are far away from me. Family who always called me to see if I was okay there, whether I was eating well, and sometimes even grandfather who called me and said he was always praying for me. It makes me sad and grateful at the same time. What I am grateful for this year is that I met the people I wish to be a constant in my life. But you know, we are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.

When being in your 20s means you have teenage emotions but also adult responsibilities at the same time.

When I was 16 and Lorde said ”feels so scary getting old” I felt that in my heart but I just want to remind that sometimes your life really doesn’t begin until you are 26+. Romanticizing and obsessing over our youth is harmful. Growing up is beautiful. Discovering who you are and how you interact with the world is a gift. Maturing and learning what you truly want out of life and living in that purpose brings fulfillment and peace. Your life is not over in your early 20’s because you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s just beginning. If I have learned anything over this last year it’s that you have to live your own life too so that if something we hoped for doesn’t work out, you still have two legs to stand on, you still have your own path. One of the hardest parts of life is deciding whether to walk away or try harder.

Life doesn’t have to be perfect wonderful. Remember, how wonderful life is while you’re in the world.